Recessions experienced in mid-life linked to higher risk of cognitive decline later on

November 20, 2013

Lay-offs and enforced part time work and lower paid, lower status jobs (downward job mobility), sparked by recessions, may explain the toll taken on cognitive ability - memory, verbal fluency, temporal orientation, and numeracy - the findings suggest.

Previous research suggests that working conditions may influence the potential to build up "cognitive reserve," which in turn influences cognitive performance at a later age.

But higher cognitive ability to start with may select individuals into more favourable jobs and working environments, so the authors wanted to find out if economic recessions, over which individuals have no control, made any difference.

They therefore analysed data from 12,000 people in 11 countries, who took part in the representative Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). This looks at the health, employment, and social conditions of Europeans aged 50 and older.

Participants' cognitive abilities were assessed in 2004-5 and 2006-7. The results were linked to detailed work histories, retrospectively collected in 2008-9, as well as annual data on per capita fluctuations in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in each country between 1959 and 2003, to gauge the number and depth of economic downturns.

The researchers then looked at the potential impact of recessions experienced at ages 25-34, 35-44, and 44-49 on cognitive ability at ages 50-74.

And they took account of a wide range of potentially influential factors, including: birth before or after World War II; self-rated health; material deprivation; occupation of main breadwinner in the household; number of books in the home; self-reported skills in their mother tongue and maths; educational attainment; and type of first job.

The average number of recessions experienced ranged from 0.73 for men between the ages of 45 and 49 to 1.33 for women between the ages of 35 and 44.

The analysis showed that men who did not live through any recession in their mid to late 40s had a mean cognitive score of minus 0.07 at ages 50 to 74, compared with a mean score of minus 0.12 for those experiencing four or more recessions. The impact of a recession on women seemed to occur earlier - in their mid 20s to mid 30s, with the equivalent figures minus 0.05 and 0.17, respectively.

Economic recessions during these periods were associated with several labour market outcomes, such as lay-offs, enforced part-time working, and the need to take lower paid, lower status work.
-end-


BMJ

Related Recession Articles from Brightsurf:

Domestic violence increased in the great recession
Researchers found that physical abuse in adults increased substantially, with Black and Native American people being disproportionately affected.

Can we estimate the time until the next recession?
As the world economy is falling into one of the biggest contractions of the last decades, a new study of economic recession patterns finds that the likelihood of a downturn was high even before the onset of the Coronavirus crisis.

Extreme weather could bring next recession
Despite obvious market risks brought by fires, floods and other events, asset managers are slow to react.

Job losses during the Great Recession may be responsible for decline in US birth rates
New research published this month in the Southern Economic Journal reveals job losses during the Great Recession (2007-2009) may be partly responsible for the recent drop in U.S. birth rates.

School spending cuts triggered by great recession linked to sizable learning losses for learning losses for students in hardest hit areas
Substantial school spending cuts triggered by the Great Recession were associated with sizable losses in academic achievement for students living in counties most affected by the economic downturn, according to a new study published today in AERA Open, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.

Hardship during the Great Recession linked with lasting mental health declines
People who suffered a financial, housing-related, or job-related hardship as a result of the Great Recession were more likely to show increases in symptoms of depression, anxiety, and problematic drug use, research shows.

Inequality gap grew before the Great Recession and after, study finds
The Great Recession hit Americans across the socioeconomic spectrum, but the drivers behind these socioeconomic divides were mounting before the decline even hit, according to a paper published in PLOS ONE.

The 2008 recession associated with greater decline in mortality in Europe
In recent decades, Europe has experienced a downward trend in the annual number of deaths.

New report details experiences of graduates with student loan debt during the Great Recession
Most non-borrowers (81 percent) reported that their undergraduate education was worth the cost, compared with 69 percent of graduates who took out student loans.

The Great Recession took a toll on public health, study finds
The Great Recession, spanning 2008 to 2010, was associated with heightened cardiovascular risk factors, including increased blood pressure and glucose levels, according to a new UCLA-led study.

Read More: Recession News and Recession Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.